Renting your home includes a lot of time and responsibility. From tenant screening to collecting monthly rent payments and everything in between, it is easy for a landlord to neglect a significant part of the rental home: large appliances. However, it’s crucial to prioritize large appliance care if you want to save money and ensure tenant satisfaction. Today, we’ll review the importance of including rental appliances and how to care for them long-term.
Contents of This Article:
- Importance of Rental Appliances
- Appliance Inventory & Lease Options
- To Buy or Repair
- Large Appliance Care Suggestions
- Care for Your Rentals With Property Management
Importance of Rental Appliances
Appliances in your rental home are generally considered equipment that performs domestic chores. By definition, the refrigerator, stove/oven, dishwasher, and washer/dryer units would then be considered appliances.
It is not uncommon to include appliances in your rental home for use by the tenant. After all, most potential tenants are drawn to homes that include all appliances. Additionally, landlords that provide those appliances can often charge higher rent because including appliances is a bonus to renting the home.
No laws require landlords to include appliances within their rental homes. However, many landlords opt to provide them in their rental properties to remain competitive in the rental market and keep up with potential tenants’ expectations. The problem, however, is that landlords often forget to maintain the appliances they allow their tenants to use regularly.
Since landlords are not living in the home, large appliance care is often left to the tenant, who may not be tending to the appliances as they should. This leaves room for the possibility that your large appliances — the ones you so kindly offer to the tenants you rent your home to – will break before their average lifespan is up.
Let’s look at some large appliance maintenance tips so that you can continue to offer your tenants the luxury of appliances without losing money due to early breakage.
Appliance Inventory & Lease Options
It is important to note the complexity of large appliance care within a rental home. For instance, unless it is spelled out clearly in the lease agreement, there is no specific law stating appliances are required in rental homes or who is responsible when a large appliance breaks.
As such, it is wise to include provisions in your lease agreement so that should a major issue arise, the lease agreement will hold up in court. Additionally, you must discuss the details regarding appliance care, maintenance, and responsibility with your tenant at the lease signing, whether you choose to remain responsible for all appliances or not.
One option is to include an appliance checklist within the tenant manual that you should provide to your tenants. This checklist will inventory all appliances you choose to provide in your rental home. This checklist might include information such as:
- The property name/address/unit number
- List of appliances
- Dates of purchase
- Warranty information
- Appliance model/serial numbers
- Detailed descriptions
- An inspection/maintenance list
Providing this detailed list of information to your tenant will help clear up any confusion regarding maintenance obligations for both parties. Additionally, it will ensure protection if a tenant damages, breaks, or steals your appliances. It will also protect the tenant should any pre-existing damages exist.
To Buy or Repair
The general rule when it comes to purchasing new appliances for your home is if the repair costs more than half the cost of a new appliance and the appliance is more than halfway through its useful lifespan, buy a new one.
To get an idea of the general lifespans of some major appliances that may be in your rental home, take a look at the following list:
|Appliance||Average Lifespan (Years)|
Large Appliance Care Suggestions
In addition to providing a detailed list of maintenance obligations to your tenants, follow these suggested tips on maintaining your rental between tenants to help keep your appliances in tip-top shape.
- Test the door seal by closing the door on a dollar bill. If the bill slips, replace the rubber gasket that keeps cold air in and hot air out.
- Magnetic strips embedded in the gaskets around refrigerator doors make doors close snugly, but they routinely wear out and should be replaced or re-magnetized every couple of years.
- Clean the condenser coils in the back of your fridge. They cool and condense refrigerant, releasing the heat your appliance produces while turned on.
- Dust and pet hair can clog the condensers placing extra stress on the appliance.
- Level the fridge (side-to-side and back-to-front), or it will not close properly.
- To check for unevenness, place a level on the top of the fridge, rotating the adjustable feet until level.
- Replace the water filter to ensure clean water and ice and to prevent clogs and leaks.
- After you replace the filter, run a couple of gallons of water through it to remove any carbon residue in the filter.
- Store food properly to help with general fridge maintenance.
If you feel you might need to purchase a new refrigerator, check out this useful information.
- Place heavy pots gently on smooth-top stoves to avoid breakage.
- Never cover drip pans with foil, which can short-circuit the burner.
- Keep reflector bowls beneath burners shiny to reflect heat.
- Periodically clean gas burner ports with a needle.
- Don’t poke the igniters or spray them with cleaners.
- Check oven door seals. If heat is escaping, adjust or replace the rubber gasket.
- Slide your oven out and clean underneath it.
- Consider using a surge protector.
- Make sure your tenant understands how to properly load the dishwasher.
- Rinse dishes before loading is important to prevent clogs.
- Overcrowding the dishwasher will affect the spraying mechanisms resulting in poor washing.
- Recommend proper detergent for your model.
- Often, powder detergents work more efficiently and leave less residue inside the appliance that can potentially affect the drainage of water and plug filters.
- Clean/replace filters regularly.
- Unclog spray arms and replace dish racks to prevent corrosion and residue.
- Inspect the washing machine hoses for bulges, cracks, and leaks.
- Burst hoses can spill hundreds of gallons of water an hour, flooding your home.
- Tighten loose fittings.
- Replace hoses every five years.
- Clean the rubber gaskets and drums on washers and dryers with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar.
- Remove and clean out the entire exhaust duct line from the dryer to the exterior.
- Clogged ducts can cause house fires and an average of about $10,000 worth of damages.
- Make sure the dryer’s hinged exterior vent pops open when the dryer runs.
- Inspect the dryer exhaust duct for crimps, obstructions, and bending.
- Do not overload either appliance past the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Overloading can cause damage and burn motors out quickly.
Care for Your Rentals With Property Management
Appliances can be amazing amenities for your rental properties. They can attract quality tenants, increase the monthly rent collection, and put you at the top of the competition. However, both short-term and long-term large appliance care is essential. That way, your added income is not wasted on repairs or replacements of these large appliances.
Enlisting the help of your favorite rental property management group can help relieve the headache of appliance responsibility and maintenance, as well as reduce any potential disputes should the appliance break down. If you’re looking for a reliable rental management team, consider Bay Property Management Group. We offer comprehensive management services, including rental marketing, tenant screening, property maintenance, and more.
So, let us help you determine what to include in your rental home so you can rest easy at night knowing your property is in good hands. Contact us today to learn about our services throughout Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC.